At the start of Monday’s City Council Meeting, there was standing room only. If the number of people in the Council Chamber at City Hall is a valid measure, the most significant thing to happen was a series of presentations at the beginning of the long meeting.
These included a recognition of the Lindenberg, Germany Sister City program, a proclamation from the State of Michigan in honor of Saline’s sesquicentennial and the bestowing of Green Thumb Awards for 2016.
Saline teacher of German, Sara Shuster, introduced the Lindenberg presentation. She said that the 22 German students in the audience represented the seventh student exchange since Saline and Lindenberg became sister cities.
The students will be in Saline for 21 days, leaving November 2. Many Saline students who are hosting the Germans plan to visit Lindenberg in the summer.
During their stay, the visitors have read to kindergartners, planted bulbs at City Hall, painted the rock at Mill Pond Park and tasted peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the first time. Later this week they will attend the Saline football game and participate in tailgating, also a first for them.
One of the visiting students prepared an excellent video about Lindenberg, which the visitors showed at the meeting. Many of the students came wearing traditional lederhosen, which they usually only put on for festivals.
Lindenberg is known as the Hat City for the importance of the hat industry in the city. More relevant to Saline, it is the home of Liebherr Aerospace with about 2,000 employees.
Former Mayor of Saline and present State Representative Gretchen Driskell came forward with Mayor Brian Marl to read a proclamation from the State of Michigan honoring the City of Saline and its 150th birthday. The Lindenberg presentation was meaningful to her, having participated in earlier exchanges.
Driskell noted that Lindenberg recently celebrated their 1,150-year-old birthday. Nevertheless, in Michigan, Saline’s 150th is still a big deal.
“Our heritage is really an important part of our community,” Driskell said as she spoke of Saline’s efforts to celebrate its past.
The proclamation spoke of the history of Saline and its accomplishments. It ended with an 1840 quote from Saline’s founder, Orange Risdon.
“May she continue to shine in light, knowledge and liberty with the same increasing brilliance which she has shown from infancy to the present time,” Risdon said.
Marl followed up the proclamation with a review and praise for recent sesquicentennial events, including a plug for the new book, “Saline: Our City, The Beginning to 2016,” available at City Hall.
Each year, the Parks and Recreation Commission awards the Green Thumb Awards to those voted to have the nicest yards and gardens in the city. Awards were presented for two residential and one institutional garden.
This year’s residential gardeners were Paula Allison and Barry England of Henry Street and Michael and Jutamaus Fuerstnau of W. McKay Street. The institutional winners were the volunteers who tend the gardens at Rentschler Farm Museum.
The Rentschler awardees were Evelyn Burns, Taylor Jacobsen, John and Kathy Bauman. The farm garden is not only attractive but also educational and productive. Last year Rentschler Farm produced 4,000 pounds of food that was donated to Food Gatherers.
Each winner of the Green thumb award received a certificate, a commemorative trowel and a gift card from Saline Flowerland. They also received recognition from an appreciative crowd.
After these presentations many of the visitors filed out of council chambers. For those remaining, more mundane, but no less important business continued long into the evening.